Individual Health Insurance:
In Arkansas, your health options are somewhat dependent on your health status. Your health insurance cannot be canceled because you get sick. Most health insurance is guaranteed renewable.
If you have low or modest household income, you may be eligible for free or subsidized health coverage for yourself or members of your family.
If you believe you may be at risk for cancer but are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for screening and treatment from the Arkansas BreastCare Program.
Under Arkansas law, newborns and adopted children must be automatically covered under the parents’ individual health policy, if the plan covers dependents. Adult dependents who are physically disabled or mentally retarded are, at the option of the insured, able to stay on their parents’ individual health insurance policy after they have reached the age at which the plan usually cancels dependent coverage.
You can buy an individual health insurance policy from the Arkansas Comprehensive Health Insurance Poll (CHIP) if you have lived in Arkansas for at least 90 days and can demonstrate proof of eligibility. CHIP only offers individual coverage, so each member of your family needs to qualify on his or her own for a CHIP policy.
CHIP premiums vary depending on your age, deductible, whether you elect maternity coverage, and whether you receive a waiver of your pre-existing condition exclusion period. The policies are renewable as long as you pay your premiums, continue to reside in Arkansas, and meet other eligibility requirements.
The Arkansas BreastCare Program provides a qualified woman with full health care benefits through Medicaid at no cost or for a nominal copayment. Those diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer may be eligible for free health coverage through Medicaid which extends throughout the duration of treatment. For screening, you must live in Arkansas and be at least 40 years of age. You must meet income eligibility requirements, be uninsured or underinsured, and be ineligible for Medcaid and/or Medicare.
The Arkansas ARKids First Program is a program that provides health insurance coverage to low income children and pregnant women. ARKids can also help in paying premiums of employer-based or private health insurance plans.
For more information on Individual Health Insurance visit the Arkansas Insurance Department at
Group Health Insurance:
Coverage under your group health plan cannot be denied or limited, nor can you be required to pay more, because of your health status.
If you leave your lob, you may be able to remain in your old group health plan for a certain length of time. If you lose your group health insurance and meet other qualifications, you will be HIPAA eligible. If so, you can buy an individual health plan from the Arkansas CHIP.
You must be given a special opportunity to sign up for your group health plan if certain changes happen to your family.
Group health plans cannot apply a pre-existing condition exclusion period for pregnancy, newborns, newly adopted children, children placed for adoption, or genetic information. They can only exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions for a limited time. The maximum period allowed for exclusion is 12 months.
Employers are not required to provide health benefits for their employees, so if you change jobs, you may find that your new employer may not offer you health benefits. If you have a break in coverage of 63 days or more, you may have to satisfy a new pre-existing condition exclusion period when you join a new group health plan. If you work for certain non-federal public employers in Arkansas, not all of the group health plan protections may apply to you.
Coverage counts if it is not interrupted by a break of 63 or more days in a row.
With few exceptions, small employers cannot be turned down. However, they can require that minimum percentage of your eligible employees sign up for coverage.
If you are self employed with no other workers, you are not eligible to buy a group health plan on your own. If you do buy your own health insurance, you are eligible to deduct 100% of the cost of your premium from your federal income tax.
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